Summer is now nearly in full swing across the country and this means more and more cyclists are hitting the road. Recreational riders, triathletes in training, and bike commuters are all vying for a piece of the road alongside all types of vehicles.
For those who haven’t spent much time on the open road while riding a bike, though, it can be daunting and a little bit scary to start bike commuting. Dark mornings, inattentive drivers, and a general insecurity about how to “do the bike commuting thing” can all cause some anxiety.
However, while there are many things you can do to prepare to begin bike commuting, there is one thing you should do to best prepare:
Map out your route
This might seem like a simple thing but it is the most important thing you can do to lower your anxiety level before bike commuting. Mapping out your bike commute is more than just looking at the route on Google Maps, though (although this is a great first step).
In order to best prepare, you should at the very least drive the route you will be riding. Preferably, though, you’ll want to spend a Saturday morning just biking the route both to and from your location.
Why You Should Pre-Ride the Route
The most important reason is because the route will look a lot different when riding it compared to just looking at it on a map . In addition, by riding the route, you’ll be aware of any dangers that might be on the route, such as potholes, gravel-filled shoulders, or traffic-congested roadways. By riding the route beforehand, you’ll be more prepared for any unexpected events because you’ve biked the route before, and the more you ride the route, the more confident you’ll be on your bike commute.
You don’t have to pre-ride your route on a day that you’ll be commuting since you’re not trying to recreate the whole commuting experience. Riding the route on a Saturday or Sunday will be enough to give you some confidence. Whenever you do it, be sure and take some time to think about some of the hidden dangers you might encounter and how you’ll deal with them when they come up. That way you’ll be ready to bike commute come Monday morning.